Posted October 24, 2018 02:36:24It’s been more than three years since the first of the school’s three-year-old students, Jacob Jordan, and his younger sister, Elizabeth, went on a hunger strike in protest against the school.
Jacob was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age 3 and is the first child of his family to go on the strike, but it was not until the fall of 2018 that the school finally agreed to allow them to return to class.
The strike was supposed to last for two weeks, but was extended due to Jacob’s deteriorating health.
The teachers and students were only allowed to return home for lunch and the rest of the day, but not for the first day of school, which Jacob has yet to return.
“It was really important for Jacob that we had a healthy lunch and that he was able to see that the kids were all happy,” Elizabeth Jordan said.
“I just think that the whole thing was unfair, that we were being pushed to do something that wasn’t going to make a difference.”
While Jacob has been allowed back to the classroom, Elizabeth and Jacob’s younger brother, Zachary, who is a freshman, are still waiting for a formal response from the school, with the teachers and administrators refusing to allow Jacob to return for a “safety review” that is scheduled for the following week.
“The teachers and the administrators didn’t want to give us a chance to do anything to be able to do this without hurting Jacob,” Zachary Jordan said of his siblings’ situation.
“We just want to be there and see that our kids are being cared for and they’re being treated right.
It’s like they’re holding us back from doing what we want to do.”
A spokesperson for the New Brunswick Education Department told TheWrap that the administration’s decision to extend the strike to a week “has nothing to do with safety concerns.”
The spokesperson said that, while the strike has been ongoing, it was only due to the students’ health and safety concerns that the strike was extended, not because the school had been “actively engaging with Jacob” or made any “negotiations to resolve the issue.”
“We have reached out to Jacob directly and have expressed our concern about the health and welfare of Jacob,” the spokesperson added.
“We are fully aware of the students concerns regarding Jacob’s safety, and have been in communication with them and have offered Jacob a place to stay.”
When the strike began, the school was still working on a plan for Jacob to get back to class after the emergency lunch break, but now that Jacob has had two days off, he will be unable to go back to school.
“This is something that the students have fought for all their lives and are still trying to get,” Zacharia Jordan said, “And they still feel like they can’t get back in there and have a good time, which is really sad.”
The New Jersey Education Department did not respond to a request for comment.